Poster 323 Co-morbid Depression, Not Symptom Severity or Disease-Specific Quality of Life, Predicts Work Absenteeism in Chronic Constipation
Author Insight from Kyle Staller, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
What’s new here and important for clinicians?
Constipation is exceedingly common and exerts a considerable economic effect. Although many clinicians assume that the severity of constipation symptoms is the primary driver of obligation absenteeism, our data from over 100 patients undergoing physiologic evaluation for chronic constipation demonstrates that comorbid depression was a bigger predictor of work and school absenteeism. This suggests that clinicians should consider screening for comorbid depression in their patients presenting with chronic constipation and making appropriate referrals to mental health services +/- use of adjunctive SSRIs.
What do patients need to know?
Patients should remember that mental health is the lens through which many somatic symptoms are expressed. Although patients with chronic constipation very often have true problems with gastrointestinal function, mental health problems can have an outsized impact on the ability of symptoms to affect one’s daily life.
Kyle Staller, MD, MPH Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
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